2474) Who Told You About Heaven? (3 of 3)

Pin on Good Friday, Easter


     If there are any other resurrection stories that are historically true and will withstand investigation, I would like to know about them.  But after 40 years of extensive reading on the subject, I haven’t seen anything even close to being credible.  If you put other similar resurrection from the dead accounts and their sources to the same scrutiny, rigorous testing, vicious attacks, and ridicule that Christianity gets every day in our popular culture, none would last even five minutes.  But Christianity has withstood those attacks for 20 centuries and is still believed in by some of the most brilliant scientists, philosophers, and historians. 


          One common politically correct, but dishonest approach is to pretend to be open and accepting of all beliefs.  For one to say all religions are equally true is just another way of saying all are equally false.  This is an argument made only by those who believe in nothing.  We must treat everyone with respect, no matter what they believe, but everyone should be willing to discuss and defend their beliefs in a common pursuit of truth.

I Peter 3:15  —  In your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.


          People used to know these things; certainly people who went to church knew, and most other people too.  Of course, many had an incomplete understanding, and oftentimes their approach to those who believed something else was too harsh and judgmental, lacking any of the necessary nuances.  But they knew that:  a) God created us and gave us this life; b) because of sin, this life is broken, sad, and will end; c) God offers us a chance at another life; d) receiving that offer has everything to do with believing in Jesus; e) the offer can be disbelieved and lost.  People also believed that if this is what God said, it is for us to pay attention.

     But now we learn from the secular media and the entertainment industry, which is the primary teacher about these things for many people.  And one of the primary lessons received from these other sources is that we can come up with our own answers about these things.  The firm belief now is that we can decide in our own minds what God is like and what happens to us after we die, and all opinions on the matter are equally valid.  But just imagining something, doesn’t make it so.

          Where else in life do we take such an unrealistic approach to reality?  You can ‘imagine’ winning a hundred million dollars in the lottery tomorrow, but the Lexus dealer will not let you drive away with a new car on your promise of bringing the money in after you get your lottery check.


             The Bible contains many do’s and don’ts, many commandments and judgments.  We can be grateful that it does, in a world where life can be so confusing.  But the overarching message of the Bible is that of God’s mercy and love and forgiveness.  That grace comes to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the promise is that the doorway to heaven is through Him.  That doorway is open to everyone, but, says Jesus, you do have to go through that door.  We must not insist on the gift and refuse to hear the Giver. 

The historical case for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead I referred to, and what the New Testament actually does say about who goes to heaven and how, are other topics for other times.  Here, I just wanted to state the obvious fact that what we believe should be based on something.  But sometimes these days it takes a long time to make the case for the obvious.


C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

Here is another thing that used to puzzle me.  Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him?  But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are.  We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.  But in the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself.  Christians are Christ’s body, the organism through which He works.  Every addition to that body enables Him to do more.  If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them.  Cutting off a man’s fingers would be an odd way of getting him to do more work.


Romans 10:9 —  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 14:1-6  —  (Jesus said), “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12 —  (Peter said),  of Jesus, “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’   Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Revelation 3:7  —  These are the words of him who is holy and true (Jesus), who holds the key of David.  What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.


Our Lord Jesus, you have endured the doubts and foolish questions of every generation.  Forgive us for trying to be judge over you, and grant us the confident faith to acknowledge you as Lord.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship, Augsburg Publishing House, 1978.